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December 03, 2006

PAPA Framework for Amazon.com

As the holiday shopping seasons are approaching, Amazon's data collection method has increasingly become a morally debatable issue. Therefore, we will use the PAPA framework to analyze the potential problems involved with the use of this database.

Privacy By looking at the personal pages of a user's profile, we can see every product he or she purchased or viewed. Amazon uses this data to offer users recommendations for new products they may be interested in. Although this service might be useful to some customers, it may damage other customers that value their privacy.

Accuracy Amazon cannot assure complete accuracy within its data collection. In order to view or add a product to the wish list, users do not have to log in to the website. Therefore, data discrepancies can occur when various people use the same computer. This can totally skew the data collection Amazon and potentially harm both users and the company.

Property The information collected on the website provides Amazon with sensitive information. Amazon can easily sell this information to other companies that can use it for various needs. The question of who owns the data collected by the website is very important. Since websiter users never consented Amazon to sell this information, we belive that Amazon does not have the right to do so.

Accessibility When opening an account with Amazon, there is no explicit notification that Amazon will gain access to collect data from its users. Although it is legal for the website to collect the data, the accessibility to this sensitive information might pose as a threat for many individuals. Furthermore, outside source could gain access to this information. The information, which is kept on Amazon’s servers, is prone to hacker attacks and other security deficiencies.

Posted by orshotan at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2006

Summary of Developments in Information Technology and the Political, Social, and Economic Ramifications

Our group’s aim for this project was to conceptualize the ramifications of technological development in the contemporary world. From the start, we realized that this was an ambitious outlook, where we could oversimplify the issue. In order to avoid developing such parochial viewpoint, we equipped ourselves with the fundamental principles from a variety of academic disciplines to analyze the issues. We utilized concepts from economics, political science, public policy, sociology, humanities, and business as a prism through which we could scrutinize the issue. Through this process, we hoped to communicate to our readers the complexity and multi-faceted role that information technology plays in our everyday life.

Since politics is closely linked with the welfare of many, we thought it was important to address the intricate link between information technology and politics, which many fail to conceptualize. Essentially, information technology equips people with a wider point of access to information. Over the recent months, we have seen that this has a tremendous effect on politics. For example, the widening popularity of “Fantasy Politics,” among the youth group increases political awareness in the generally apathetic group of citizens. For the functioning of a representative democracy, this is delightful news. This is, however, likely to adversely effect the welfare of Senior Citizens, who will proportionally lose its share of voice. And while technological advancement has shaped politics, it has also worked the other ways. The November election, for example, propelled a group of constituent-hugging politicians to pass a legislation banning online gambling. We also noted that this issue is global. In China, access to Wikipedia services (i.e. its citizens having access to information) could equip its citizens with a tool to pose a big threat to the power structure in the Communist nation. The widespread use of new technology essentially is a threat to the political processes in China.

Information technology has also played an integral role in the economic welfare of many. The rise of online gambling industry, Google, and Youtube, whom stack up billions of dollars in revenue, would not have existed without the rise of information technology. The success of these industries, one could argue, demonstrates how the development of new technology is a welfare-enhancing for the people. Economists, generally, substantiate that claim through its macro-economic growth models, where the increase in GDP is a function of growth in technology. However, we also pointed out that there are costs involved with such benefit. Youtube’s copyright mess is a prime example. While Youtube dramatically decreases the cost of accessing information (i.e. videos), it has been detrimental to some music groups and authors, who lost much of their business. They do have a point, since this mentality of tolerating unlawful activities (i.e. violating the copyright law) could be detrimental for the economic and social well-being of the society.

We thought it was appropriate to sum up our discussion with our final blog, entitled, “Big Brother Society: Public Policies and Information Technology.” We wanted to emphasize this point: while technology shapes the way we live, we can also determine how technology is used. For example, governments can abuse web-based CCTV cameras and fingerprint readers could reduce privacy rights to what George Orwell calls a “Big Brother Society.” However, we can utilize that very technology for harvesting crucial marketing data or to develop a security system for children. We must start to really conceptualize the enormous amount of power that information technology has, that can shape the political, social, and economic environment in which we live inhabit.

Posted by willmoon at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

Summary of Delicious Tagging

We hope we raised your awareness in many of the new developments in IT, and its implications on your life and our society. You might as the question of what you can do to find these articles. For that, please refer to our “Search Tip Section,” which describes efficient methods for you to find the articles.

William frequently used Google News to look for IT news. He favors Google News, because Google gives access to world-wide news, which allowed him to grasp a firm understanding of IT development in the world, not just the U.S. He also used mainstream U.S. news sites, such as NY Times Technology, CNN Technology, and technology blog cites, such as ZDNET Asia.

Or preferred tagging from CNET.com for technological news. This website provides diverse and focused news relating to IT. Furthermore, he also used Businessweek.com, Yahoo News and CNN. These sites have a vast diversity of articles relating to the IT field, so it was easy tagging ones that were focused towards our topic.

Mark used the technology pages off of BBC.com and CNN.com. These websites provided great technological news, and both had a strong emphasis on political issues in the IT world. The sites differ greatly in topics, as one is from a European approach and one from a US point of view. Furthermore, with each site you get different opinions and are provided with different stories. This made tagging for our topic interesting and convenient, especially using BBC which is inundated with articles pertaining to IT issues in world politics.

All of the news articles we came across this semester can be retrieved at our delicious account. You can go there by clicking here.

Posted by willmoon at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)